STUNNED aquarium staff have discovered a shark they did not know was living undetected in their ocean tank for years.
Staff at the town’s Sea Life Centre were baffled when two shark eggs were discovered in a tank occupied by resident sharks which give birth only to live young.
The centre’s marine experts speculate that one of several ex-curators must have introduced a small tropical carpet shark to the display without recording the fact, and it has been in hiding ever since.
“When we found the first egg during a routine dive in the ocean tank just before Easter, we initially thought it must be artificial, and part of the tank’s theming decor,” said senior aquarist Martin Sutcliffe.
“We were all completely baffled when we took a closer look and realised it was real, and then we found another one about three weeks later.”
Sea Life’s veterinary consultant and fish specialist Sue Thornton confirmed the four-inch-long eggs come from a carpet shark - a family so-called because of their habit of lying static on the seabed.
Mr Sutcliffe said: “The ocean tank is a massive half-a-million litre display with numerous dark nooks and crannies among the theming, and it is just feasible that a small shark could have stayed hidden. A small carpet shark would possibly feel threatened by the larger sharks in the tank, which is the only explanation we can come up with for it keeping out of sight for so long.”